Using a Compare & Contrast Chart of Critical and Creative Thinking
Many authors compare Critical and Creative Thinking in a way that makes them appear to be polar opposites. After reading a number of these descriptions and not liking any of them, I created my own Compare and Contrast Chart.
First a note about Compare and Contrast Charts:When a professor asks you to compare two things or ideas, they usually expect you to both compare and contrast.
A good approach is writing is to use the introduction to list ways they are the same. Then, in the body of the essay, you can describe the ways they are different. Here, I list seven differences. If you want to stick to three paragraphs in the body of the essay you could choose the three most important or combine several of them.
Notice that, in addition to showing how they are different, I began each line with a category. This helps you to be sure your contrasts are parallel and helps you find more differences. It is also a useful addition to a good paragraph.
You’ll notice that I added the contrast at the end, showing that both Critical and Creative thinking need both skills. You won’t generally have such an interesting way to end and essay but, in this case, you couldn’t ask for a better way to conclude your essay.
Critical and Creative Thinking
How they are the same How they are different
. Critical Thinking Creative Thinking ________________________________________________________________________________________
Side of brain Left-brained Right-brained Skills Logic & reasoning Intuition & Imagination Process Evaluation Brainstorming Image Adult: the expert Child-like: the dreamer
Deals with Facts and ideas Ideas & inventions
Happens when Focused on problem When most relaxed
Purpose Critiques ideas Creates new ideas
Thinks About the same situation Inside the box (rules) Outside the box
Begins with Problem or situation
Knowledge The more the better
The Critical Thinker asks if the writer has made a generalization that is not true in all cases or if he has made unwarranted assumptions. He uses his imagination to find an exception to the rule or to find that example that shows the assumption was not warranted.
The Creative thinker, after coming up with a list of wildly creative ideas, must then treat them critically, asking if they are likely to succeed, if they are practical, if they will solve the problem.
Thinking is not complete without a combination of both critical and creative skills.
I’d be more enthusiastic about thinking outside the box when there’s evidence of any thinking going on inside it.
— Terry Pratchett